US Climate and Health Alliance

The green dividend of urban biking? Evidence of improved community and sustainable development


As the cost of car ownership has skyrocketed, urban biking has experienced the largest share increase of any transportation mode, rising by 40% between the years 2000 and 2014. Growing attention is being paid to the potential local economic development impacts of urban neighbourhoods becoming more bike-friendly. It is now a green economic development strategy in cities as diverse as Chicago, New York City, Portland, and San Francisco to increase bicycling as a transportation mode. This paper reports the results of a survey of 2032 responses from faculty, staff, and students of a car-dependent, downtown university. We use a mixed methods approach, including data from the American Community Survey, to support our arguments and to inform potential savings and economic benefit calculations that can be achieved from bicycle infrastructure investments and anticipated redistributed spending patterns. We argue that urban biking results in a green dividend that promotes local community development and more importantly results in zero carbon emissions.

Resource Type
Peer-reviewed article
John Gilderbloom Wes Grooms Justin Mog Wesley Meares
Resource URL
Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
Jul 9, 2015
Organization Type
Climate and Environmental Impact
Active transportation
Economics/cost analysis

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